I'm making Cheese Growlers for the dogs. The last time I made them was for Merlin, a Cheese Growler was the last treat he enjoyed before he got too sick to eat. At times like this I start missing him a lot. Most of the time I'm busy, surrounded by my three corgis, and have plenty to do, but sometimes reminders come.
I'm reminded whenever I do a new entry in the blog for Merlin's Friends. It has been a hard winter. Murphy left a few weeks ago; he and Merlin had run together at CPE Nationals in Elk Grove, CA in 2006, and now DM has claimed them both. Arthur is gone. Lulu left last week. I still find it hard to write about these things without tears.
It's going to be a little sad to return to Washington where we left Merlin. My mom picked up his ashes after I left for California. All my memories up there are of Merlin- I didn't have time to make any "after Merlin" memories. But I know the other dogs will benefit from more of my time and ability to go places Merlin could not go. We'll make more Corgi meetups- last year it either had to be accessible for a stroller or shady enough to leave him in the car. We'll get to the beach more often.
Merlin's cart (which I ran over just before he died) is in Oregon with Cochise, having been repaired and adjusted to fit Co, who has IVDD but was weakened to the point of needing front wheels.
On the DM front, the first of the At Risks have developed DM. I don't know what the percentages will turn out to be, but "At Risk" starts to take on a very somber meaning when a dog that was "At Risk" as a seven or eight year old is now a ten or eleven year old corgi with DM. One friend is waiting to see if her two girls, ten-year old daughters of her DM dog and both At Risk, will develop the disease. Other friends have dogs that are much younger and are waiting to learn what chance there is they, too, will develop DM.
There is good news, especially on the DM-testing and breeding front. More breeders are testing, and among those that are, some are finding clears. An influential Pembroke breeder in California just started testing (far from the first; Calfornia has been ahead of the curve in DM-testing.) More litters that are only clear and carriers are being born, and more puppy buyers are insisting on testing. I think the tide may be starting to turn; there are holdouts, of course, but eventually they will be the minority.